This is true, especially in the B2B space where client engagments are over longer periods of time and the deliverables are also spread. In this scenario, there are numerous triggers for the client to either be elated or frustrated and thus builds in to the relationship a sort of ‘Crests & Troughs’ line – a line that is best avoided. We know we are doing our best but sometimes we fall short. Sometimes we far exceed. But all this should not make the relationship graph look like a sensex chart. It should be smooth and it should be one way – North. How do we achieve that?
The golden rule is continuous communication. How often have we seen that the more regularly we speak to someone, more predictable becomes the actions and results and thus more smoother the relationship? Communication is not just about status reports, monthly meetings and so on. It is about a comprehensive calendar of communication that carries varied messages to people across the client’s organizations.
It is actually simple. All that you have do is map your contacts in your client organization based on hierarchy / role / nearness to the relationship. Then using the same criteria you map your organization. You then put down a list of tools / medium that you would use – phone, email, snail mail, personal meetings and so on. And finally you have a list of occassions / reasons that you could list down – monthly newsletters, status reports, information mailers, greetings and what not. Now you have the basic things. Make a few ground rules – like the CXOs should not get more than 3 communications a year, the D level should receive only from your D or M level people and similar. Now you are ready to make your calendar. Have the people from both sides on both axes and in each cell put down your choice of tool and message (based on occassion). You are now ready with your Continuous Communication Campaign (or whatever you want to call it).
Execution is far more important than planning. Follow through with your plan and you will realise that there are many benefits to continuously communicate with your clients!